Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow (Marie Antoinette Trilogy, by Juliet Grey

By Juliet Grey

A desirable novel of wealthy spectacle and royal scandal, Days of majesty, Days of Sorrow spans fifteen years within the fateful reign of Marie Antoinette, France’s so much mythical and infamous queen.

Paris, 1774. on the gentle age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne along her husband, Louis XVI. yet at the back of the extravagance of the younger queen’s complicated silk robes and dizzyingly excessive coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her destiny and that of the Bourbon dynasty.

From the early growing to be pains of marriage to the enjoyment of conceiving a baby, from her ardour for Swedish army attaché Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette attempts to upward thrust above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. yet as revolution blossoms in the US, a far greater chance looms past the gilded gates of Versailles—one which may sweep away the French monarchy endlessly.

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Perhaps because he derived most of his information from the problematic cartulary of Redon (below p. 195), he was of the opinion that in 1066 feudalism in Brittany was an exotic institution imposed on a society which was still Celtic in character and in much of its organization (Stenton 1961, 27-28). He commented sensibly on the limitations of ducal power even in the twelfth century in comparison with that in neighbouring Normandy, a factor confirmed by more recent work (Le Patourel 1976, 121-76).

As late as 1850, before being largely levelled to make way for the present church, an enormous motte some 20 m high survived, a token of the strength of the lords of Gael, one of whom was Ralph, earl of Norfolk, until his rebellion in 1076 (Douglas 1964, 231-35). The principal evidence, however, for the appearance of castles and their lords is provided by charters. In the case of Ancenis just cited, for instance, whatever the truth of the story about its origins, by the middle of the eleventh century it had passed out of the control of the counts of Nantes into that of a certain Wihenon or Guihenoc who 26 The Creation of Brittany witnessed a charter of Conan II c.

Critical new phases of urban expansion occurred in the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. At Vannes, for example, where an area of some five hectares had been enclosed at the end of the third century, there is evidence for urban growth during the eleventh and twelfth centuries with the creation of new parishes, the rebuilding of the cathedral and other churches, the provision of a new market place and the establishment of a mint. But it was during the thirteenth century that the duke ceded the site of the earliest castle, significantly called La Motte, to the bishop to use as a manor and began a major campaign of construction of town walls.

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